Fear of maintenance

Been cycling for a few years and have commuted quite regularly for the last year or so...recently I've not been on the bike and people (mostly the wife) have been asking why. Thing is that there's a bit of a grinding noise from the bottom bracket and I'm not sure what it is.
This might sound absolutely stupid but I'm rubbish at maintenance (even punctures are a hassle) and I'm worried that there's an issue and don't want to make it worse. Could be a load of muck and I've not cleaned it properly (I rode a lot in the rain) but also worried that the bearings are going and it's gonna cost (money is a bit tight at the mo).
I'm also a little paranoid that if I get the hose on it I might do more harm than good (last time I hosed it down I had to take it in because I washed the grease out of the back wheel bearings and didn't know).
Any advice would be most welcome...
 

palinurus

Velo, boulot, dodo
Location
Watford
Are you certain it's the BB that's noisy? if so it is probably worn or it's got rusty in there or something.

What sort of bike is it? do you know if it's a cartridge BB or one of those ones with loose ball bearings in (what the hell are those called).

If the BB is the problem and it's one of those jobs with the loose balls in it then it's a pretty cheap job. A cartridge BB will cost more (around £12 I'd guess). Cartridge BBs come in different widths, threads and with different spindles for the cranks so probably best to take it to the bike shop if you buy a replacement.

It's not likely to be muck- it won't get in there that easily. If you do want to do it yourself you'll need to get the cranks off- the method varies with the type of crank. I was also rubbish at maintenance once, still am for some jobs. You could have a go at it, although if you need to buy a crank remover or other tools (might need a C-spanner or a BB removal tool) it might be cheaper to take it to the shop.
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Botton Brackets come in 2 basic types, open ball-bearing types and sealed bearing types. Bottom brackets also wear with time and the open bearing types need stripping from time to time, cleaning and re-lubing. The sealed type need less maintainance and tend to go longer without fettling but eventually the bearings need replacing and it's usualy a single part swap. The old type bearings can be stripped and relubed several times. However in both cases some special tools are required to remove the cranks and the bearings. If you've regularly commuted on the bike for a while especially in all weathers, why not go to a decent bike shop and get a quote for replacement or servicing? It shouldn't be a fortune and needs to be done once in a while.

What bike or post a picture and we'll try and figure which type you have
Whichever type you have, keep high power hoses away!
 

palinurus

Velo, boulot, dodo
Location
Watford
First off though I'd just wind the pedals around by hand and check there's nothing obvious- something rubbing on the chain or chainring or any other sources of noise.
 

david1701

Well-Known Member
Location
Bude, Cornwall
a straight swap of the bb isn't too bad, I think it was like 30 quid including the park tool to get it off. Be warned I had to thread a bolt into the crank thread to hold the tool on, then use a pair of mole grips and a hammer on my year old tricross (I greased the new threads VERY well :biggrin:)
 
OP
Easytigers

Easytigers

Guru
Thanks guys. The bike is a Specialized Sirrus Elite. Thought it might be upwards of £100 if I had to take it in so feel a lot better about it after your comments. I think I'll take a closer look (now off work for a couple of weeks so got time) before I take it but think I'd have better piece of mind if someone else checked it/replaced the bearings if needed.
Thanks again,
Russ
 

fossala

Veteran
Location
Cornwall
It could be worth you giving worth you giving it a go yourself. If you fail, you will have too take it into a shop anyway. But you will probably learn something along the way.
 
Take it to a bike shop. Explain the symptoms Ask whats wrong with it. Ask how much they estimate it'll cost to fix.

Thank them and leave. When youve saved up enough money to cover the repair call the shop and book it in.
 
The sealed type are mostly unserviceable.
 
Location
London
It could be worth you giving worth you giving it a go yourself. If you fail, you will have too take it into a shop anyway. But you will probably learn something along the way.
+1 for that - I too used to be awful at maintenance and left well alone, but most things aren't that hard if you take it easy with a good book and good tools. I'd recommend the Park Tools Little Blue Book of Maintenance. Get that (or check out their web page with instructions)
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/categories/bottom-brackets
get some good quality tools and you'll be away. Take it slowly and double-check yourself as you go. It's not a race. And next time you will find it far faster to do.
 

compo

Veteran
Location
Harlow
I remember the first time I fitted a sealed BB. I worried about it, asked lots of questioned on here, prevaricated whether to do it myself or put it in the shop, and in the end I did it myself. You only need two special tools, a crank extractor and a bottom bracket adaptor to unscrew the sealed unit. Recommended but not absolutely necessary is a torque wrench. Now I have done the job a few times on mine and other people's bikes it takes longer to assemble my tools than to do the job. Check out you tube where there are lots of instructional videos and give it a go. I think you will be surprised at how easy the job is.

I agree about good quality tools. I bought a cheap unbranded BB tool off ebay, and although it worked, the splines didn't really fit the BB rings with confidence and would keep slipping out of engagement. I later bought a slightly more expensive Icetools tool and the difference was superb. My crank extractor is Raleigh branded from the early 70's and is still in perfect condition.
 
Location
London
I'd second compo - the only trouble I can see you having with a bottom bracket is if it's been in there a long time without the thread interface between it and the bike shell having been regreased. If that's the case and you can't get the old one out, then you can just take it to the bike shop. If you're confused by the various bottom bracket specs but have time to have the bracket out for a few days you can always extract the old one, look for markings on it (asking friendly folk on here if you need help interpreting them) and then get the same from a bike shop or online. This is what I did - the new bottom bracket cost me about £15 online and the quality tools probably paid for themselves the first time I used them.
 

Hawk

Well-Known Member
There's a mountain of information on the internet that explains how to do all these types of services. My local bike shop (LBS) are happy to sell me a part and then talk me through installation (as long as they're not busy), even suggesting I call them back in the mornings when they're quieter if required. This helped me out when I started fixing up bikes.

However, google is definitely your friend.

Maybe going on a bike maintenance course could be of benefit to you too. I love knowing how my bike works; at first I was terrified I would break something or cause myself to crash if I didn't adjust the brakes correctly, but now I'm actually more assured and prefer knowing that I have personally correctly set up my bike. And still save money, even considering the bits I occasionally break :whistle:
 
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